Rain fails to dampen high spirits at Laval Hellenic Summer Festival

‘The vibe this year has been great,’ said HCGM Laval president Anna Giorganta

Although the crowds were somewhat thinner than usual, a steady downpour of rain during the late afternoon on Canada Day didn’t deter some patriotic Laval and greater Montreal residents from celebrating the country’s birthday, while getting back in touch with their cultural roots at the 2023 Laval Hellenic Summer Festival.

If anything, the rain contributed to a greater sense of togetherness, as attendees gathered in the yard next to Holy Cross Church on Souvenir Road in Chomedey under tents and awnings that were erected in the event they’d be needed during this always fickle time for weather each year.

An open space was made under one of the tents for Hellenic dancers to perform. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Moisture bad for the hair

With all that moisture hovering in the air, Vimy Liberal MP Annie Koutrakis was having a bad day for hair. “I think it’s quite wet – it’s a hundred per cent humid – and it does very little good for my hair, which is very upsetting – it’s a girl thing,” she confided during an interview with The Laval News.

While sudden thunderstorms are not unusual on Canada Day, few of those attending the three-day festival could remember an event as wet as the one this year. In an unusual departure, the Greek folk dancers were forced to perform in a small area cleared under one of the tents as the rain was coming down so fast outside, they’d have been soaked in an instant.

But the energy was there

If there was one thing that Anna Giorganta, the president for the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal’s Laval chapter, wanted to make clear, it was that the rain wasn’t her fault.

When the rain finally subsided during the early evening last Canada Day, Montreal and Laval Hellenic community officials, as well as elected reps from Ottawa, Quebec and Laval, gathered to cut the Canada Day cake. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

“But the vibe this year has been great, the energy too,” she said, while noting that the weather the day before was beautiful and it would improve significantly by day three. In the meantime, the rain finally stopped by evening on Canada Day, allowing everyone at the festival to let out a sigh of relief.

“This is all made possible by the support of everyone in the community,” Giorganta added. “I truly think that when you believe in your community and you give it all you’ve got, no matter the weather, no matter the storm, the outcome is always amazing. I think this is what we’re seeing this weekend.”

The makings for pork souvlaki were slowly grilled by volunteer chefs from the Laval and Montreal region’s Hellenic community. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Good mood, despite rain

Regardless of the weather, said Laval city councillor for Chomedey Aglaia Revelakis, the most important thing was that “we’re all here together to celebrate Canada Day. Still, here they went to all this trouble organizing the Laval Hellenic Summer Festival and here it is pouring rain. But there’s lot still to do. And tomorrow they are announcing beautiful weather.”

“Everybody’s in a good festive mood, except that we can’t go out in the rain,” said Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal president Dr. George Tsoukas. Representing Laval mayor Stéphane Boyer, l’Abord-à-Plouffe city councillor Vasilios Karidogiannis was ready to party, along with his council colleague, Councillor Aline Dib from Saint-Martin district.